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Next wave of designers told to keep sketching

Stay focussed: Holden's director of design Richard Ferlazzo told future designers at the VACC Automotive Design Awards to stay focussed and positive.

Future automotive designers told there will be work, despite industry closure

30 Jun 2014

THREE of Australia's top car stylists have urged industrial design students to pursue a career in the automotive industry even though the country is about to lose all its mass-production car factories.

Toyota’s manager of product design, Nicolas Hogios, GM Holden director of design Richard Ferlazzo and Ford’s manager of exterior design, Simon Brook were answering questions as a part of a panel at the VACC Automotive Design Awards in Melbourne last week.

Asked what single piece of advice he would offer to students, Toyota’s design chief, Nicolas Hogios said “Get off Facebook”.

“In today’s society there are a lot of distractions out there. I know when I was at uni, when we started there was no Internet.

“There is so much at your fingertips out there, I think that, even on YouTube, there are so many people out there in the world that give up their time to record tutorials and that sort of thing.”

While it was good that so much expertise was available on the internet, Mr Hogios said it could consume a lot of time.

“You almost have got to filter all that out. Get off Facebook and keep drawing.

“Get back to the fundamentals. Use the technology, the standards, the mediums, every channel that you have got these days to make yourself better.”

GM Holden director of design Richard Ferlazzo placed even more emphasis on free hand drawing to the younger stylists at the event.

“What we like to see as judges is more your loose sketches. It doesn’t have to be all electronic.

“It doesn’t have to be all the latest methods for expressing your ideas. Good old drawing goes a long way. Show us that kind of thing.

“By all means embrace the new techniques, because that’s the way things are done now. Move with it.”

Ford’s manager of exterior design, Simon Brook, was succinct in his advice to the next-generation of automotive designers.

“Keep developing your talents. Like Richard and Nic were saying, keep sketching, It always starts with a sketch. “ Mr Hogios said if a student was able to get a job in a local studio, it would provide a great grounding because employees in Australia tend to specialise less than people in bigger studios overseas.

“In Australia we do a lot with a little and are well regarded for that around the world. Also, we are not so focused. We have a very broad, diverse range of skills, each person does.

“So keep doing it, keep practicing and work damned hard. Because they are highly sought after roles that we can offer.”

Mr Ferlazzo urged students to stay positive and enthusiastic about a career in design, despite the recent changes in the industry.

“Don’t be discouraged by the news that’s gone through the industry in recent times. That’s one part of the process. This is an entirely different area, a different skill set.”

While Ford and Holden have more direct connections with educational institutions, Mr Hogios said he goes out of his way to meet design students at events like the Age of Ideas conference.

“There are a lot of students that attend these events and you have got to make time to be there. After the events I spend hours talking with the students and giving them confidence. It is about confidence.

“There are safer career paths, potentially, but I think design and creativity is a very important competitive advantage for companies when they are trying to differentiate themselves in such a cluttered environment.

“Trying to help out ion that way is very important to us,” Mr Hogios said.

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